I mentioned water briefly in an early post, but it’s such an important topic that it deserves its own post. The first and only rule is this, DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. I wouldn’t even trust water filtration systems in most Chinese apartments.
China just doesn’t have the water sanitation systems or sewage treatment plants we are blessed with here in the States. Oftentimes raw sewage, even from large cities, is pumped right into rivers and lakes. A few miles down stream that now-tainted water is pulled into another town. Even if the water itself were clean, it would travel to you through miles of untreated piping that is who-knows-how-old.
One time I got to translate for an American basketball team that was playing in China for a season. As soon as I met them I recommended that they avoid the water, but one of the players thought he could drink just a cup or two and be safe. I don’t want to get too graphic…but he was wrong.
It is just as easy and cost effective to buy bottled water as necessary. A bottle of water, depending on the brand, will cost between 2-10元 ($.29-$1.50). Your health is well worth an extra few cents a day.